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Ugandan Opposition to Challenge Presidential Election Results

A man leans on a closed kiosk with graffiti calling to free Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine, in Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 17, 2021.
A man leans on a closed kiosk with graffiti calling to free Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine, in Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 17, 2021.

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine’s party said Sunday that it would challenge his loss in the recent presidential election.

"We have evidence of ballot stuffing and other forms of election malpractice and after putting it together we are going to take all measures that the law permits to challenge this fraud," Mathias Mpuuga of Wine's National Unity Party (NUP) told a news conference Sunday, a day after Uganda’s election commission declared President Yoweri Museveni the winner of the 2021 general elections.

Since seizing control of Uganda in 1986, Museveni, 76, has ruled the country continuously. He has dismissed claims of voting fraud in the recent election against Wine, 38, a singer turned lawmaker.

Sunday’s announcement from the opposition party came as two people were confirmed dead in protests since the election result, Reuters reported.

Both the U.S. and Britain expressed concern over the validity of the election results, noting the internet blackout throughout Uganda since before the election day.

Wine said Sunday that his polling agents have video evidence of voting fraud, but cannot make them public because of the internet blackout, the Associated Press reported.

“We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted Saturday.

On Sunday, Jake Sullivan, whom U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his national security adviser, tweeted:
“The news from Uganda is deeply concerning. Bobi Wine, other political figures, and their supporters should not be harmed, and those who perpetrate political violence must be held accountable. After this flawed election, the world is watching.”

Wine’s party also said Sunday that the opposition candidate and his wife are unable to leave their home, with soldiers surrounding the entrance and barring his colleagues and journalists from entering.

“Everyone including media and my party officials are restricted from accessing me,” Wine tweeted Sunday.

Legislator Francis Zaake, a Wine supporter who in the past has been arrested and allegedly tortured by security forces, was given access Saturday, only to be stopped at the roadblock. He was then pulled from his car and beaten before being thrown into a police van.

Electoral Commission head Simon Byabakama announced just after 4 p.m. Saturday local time that Museveni had won the election with 58.64% to Wine’s 34.83% of the votes cast in Thursday's balloting. Voter turnout was 52%.

Nine of Museveni’s cabinet ministers, including his vice president, did not win, according to the AP. Some lost to members of Wine’s party.

Byabakama called on Ugandans, especially those supporting those who lost in the election, to stay calm.

The U.S. Embassy in Uganda declined to observe the election after authorities denied more than 75% of its accreditation requests. On polling day, more than 30 election observers were arrested.